Johannesburg — Phil Mickelson has three Masters titles to his name, but following his disingenuous apology about his comments concerning the Saudi Golf League (SGL) on Tuesday — he can add a fourth title to his name but this one should be called master manipulator.
In the six paragraph-long apology, for calling the Saudi-backed golf league “scary” with a "horrible record on human rights.”, Mickelson painted himself the victim.
The 51-year-old Mickelson’s controversial comments were published by renowned golf journalist and author Alan Shipnuck. Mickelson made mention during his first paragraph that his comments were made off the record to Shipnuck.
Shipnuck has denied that the comments were off the record tweeting: “The 'off the record' piece of this is completely false and I'll have more to say on that shortly.”
Respected golf analyst Brandel Chamblee weighed in on the feeble apology in which he felt Mickelson was trying to portray himself as the victim of ‘shady journalism’.
"Just read Phil’s statement, it’s 6 paragraphs, the 1st paragraph sets the stage for him being a victim, the 2nd paragraph is him pretending to be an activist, the 3rd/4th paragraphs are about spin and damage control/money and the 5th and 6th are him saying he’s a good guy,” tweeted Chamblee.
The 'off the record' piece of this is completely false and I'll have more to say on that shortly. https://t.co/7cogbJlneK— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) February 22, 2022
Chamblee said much the same in an interview with Golf Central on Tuesday, but also gave great insight into the manipulative nature of Mickelson.
Chamblee said Mickelson had revealed his duplicitous nature after the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland. The US team that year lost to Europe in the team golf event 16.5 to 11.5, with Mickelson a member of the losing team led by Tom Watson.
“This is not unlike what he did in the takedown of Tom Watson in the press room on Sunday night when the US lost at the Ryder Cup. When he blamed Tom Watson for his Ryder Cup failure. Shortly afterwards, Phil called me as I had some strenuous words to say about Phil’s remarks in the press room that night as we were live at Gleneagles,” said Chamblee.
“On Tuesday I got the call from Phil, and we talked for 30 minutes. He told me all kinds of bad things about Tom Watson, and trying to make the case that this was all Tom’s fault and not his fault.”
Chamblee said he saw through the attempt by Mickelson to influence his portrayal in the media.
“When I hung up, I thought — that is Phil at his manipulative best — trying to call me and put words in my mouth so that I would not continue on in the same vein. What was more telling was in the week or two after that, I began to hear other journalists almost verbatim spitting out the words that Phil had told me.
“It made me think that Phil had probably called numerous journalists, so that he could come back and wrap his arms around the Ryder Cup like he was the triumphant saviour. Meanwhile, he was the one punching holes in the boat and then trying to steer it into the harbour like he was the heroic captain. That’s what I felt he was trying to do [again] in this six paragraph apology.”
Mickelson will now face a dilemma, as the SGL seems to be battling for takeoff with a number of top players opting to commit to the US PGA Tour instead.
He will either batten down the hatches of the sinking Saudi ship, or draft another — more sincere — apology to the PGA Tour if he has any hopes of playing on the premier golf tour again. Your move Mickelson.